The BBC’s One Show was taking a cheap shot last week, with an item on an ex WWII RAF Spitfire pilot. Apparently, the old boy wasn’t allowed to get in to a Spitfire that had been restored by a group of volunteers. The reason given for the prohibition was of course given as ‘health and safety concerns’, which of course was greeted by derisory comments from the one Show presenters, similar to those made in national newspapers earlier in the week.
Interestingly, the film clip they showed was edited to show the OAP first standing next to the cockpit and then, as if by magic, sitting in the aircraft. No doubt climbing in to the aircraft for the 90+ year old pensioner was not as quick or slick as the producer would of liked and no doubt had some potential health and safety implications, they didn’t want shown on early evening TV.
Trivialising health and safety concerns in this way, does nobody any good and completely ignores the aircraft owners genuine reasons for refusing the ex-RAF pilot’s request – the fear of being sued by a no win, no fee lawyer. Had this old gentleman come a cropper, either climbing in or climbing out of the Spitfire, do you think either he or his relative would of accepted it as just one of those things? Or would they have been on the phone to the first no win, no fee lawyer they found in the phone book? Even if they hadn’t initiated the legal action, there’s every possibility one of the numerous ambulance chasing firms, that advertise daily on day time TV, would probably have been on the phone to them!
As long as the no win, no fee legal system remains unchanged, people will continue to respond in this way to what would otherwise be a very straightforward request.